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Skillset Film Lab Opens at The Actors Centre

Thursday 22nd September 2005

A major new initiative for actors and directors to develop their skills in the medium of film was announced today.

The Skillset Film Lab, in association with PFD and run by the Actors Centre, is a year-long programme of workshops, led by high-powered practitioners and is part of A Bigger Future, the UK Film Skills Strategy.

Intensive sessions with actors including such inspirational figures as Brian Cox, Ewan MacGregor, Imelda Staunton and Patrick Stewart, will be available at greatly subsidised rates to a pool of actors and directors selected on the basis of audition and interview.

The Joint Directors of the Skillset Film Lab are distinguished actor Denis Lawson and Matthew Lloyd, Artistic Director of the Actors Centre.

Denis Lawson said :

"This is an opportunity to get information about the film-making process across to actors - and information is power."

Matthew Lloyd said :

"It's also about exploring the creative dialogue between actors and directors - the key collaboration in making a movie - without the pressure to deliver an end product."

The aim of the Skillset Film Lab is to deepen the skills base that is available for cinematic work, including artists who are disabled or from culturally diverse backgrounds, making a real difference to the talent pool available for British films in the future.

The Skillset Film Lab, which has a celebrated Patron in Sir Ian McKellen, is supported by the Skillset Film Skills Fund with money from the National Lottery through the UK Film Council and the film industry through the Skills Investment Fund.

Judy Counihan, Director of Film at Skillset said :

"The Skillset Film Lab is a long overdue project focusing on the all important relationship actors and directors have with each other and a camera. Skillset is delighted to be supporting this project as part of A Bigger Future, the UK Film Skills Strategy which covers the skills needs of everyone who helps bring films to the screen from writers, carpenters and actors through to editors, marketers and distributors.

St John Donald, Co-Chairman and Managing Director of leading international talent agency PFD, said :

"PFD has always nurtured and encouraged new talent in film and we are very pleased to be associated with the Skillset Film Lab, believing it can make a real difference to the future of innovative British film making."

Application forms to become part of the Skillset Film Lab will shortly be available at

Successful applicants must demonstrate that they are an actor or director with substantial training but limited experience of paid work within the film industry.

Applications are especially welcome from artists who are disabled or who are from culturally diverse backgrounds.



Eve Ragout
020 7520 5752
07968 010 325

Notes to Editor

1. Skillset is the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries covering Broadcast, Film, Video, Interactive Media and Photo Imaging. Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) are licensed by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills and by Ministers in the devolved administrations to tackle the skills and productivity challenge by sector. SSCs are independent, UK wide organisations developed by groups of influential employers in industry or business sectors of economic or strategic significance. SSCs are employer-led and actively involve trade unions, professional bodies and other stakeholders in the sector.

2. A Bigger Future is a joint strategy developed by Skillset and the UK Film Council with the support of the Northern Ireland Film & Television Commission, Scottish Screen and Sgrin Cymru Wales.

3. The UK Film Council is the lead agency for film in the UK ensuring that the economic, cultural and educational aspects of film are effectively represented at home and abroad. Investing Government grant-in-aid and Lottery money in film development and production; training; international development, export promotion; distribution and exhibition; and education, with the aim of delivering lasting benefits to the industry and the public alike.

4. The Actors Centre is the UK's leading resource for the acting profession, enabling the pursuit of excellence by providing artistic development of the highest quality and initiating innovative work across all performing media. It is recognised throughout the industry as a creative hub where actors, directors and writers share information and exchange ideas.

5. PFD is a leading international literary and talent agency, both in terms of turnover and breadth of representation. It is an acknowledged leader in many of its specialist areas, acting as agent to writers, directors, producers, actors, technicians, composers, public speakers and illurtators across a wide variety of media which include books, plays, television, film productions and multimedia projects.

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